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Boating safety important during the busy season, Coast Guard and Sanibel Fire say

Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 19:22:29-04

SANIBEL ISLAND, FLA — We are keeping an eye on boating safety with Spring Break and the influx of people being out on our beaches as well as our waterways here in Southwest Florida.

However, today we spent the day with officials who are making key points that can help keep you safe. They explained that our waterways have changed drastically from Hurricane Ian.

"We see a lot of Jet ski accidents, boaters against boaters, people falling off some really bad outboards and motor running prop related injuries which can do severe damage and cause fatalities." says Sanibel Fire Department Lieutenant Brian Howell explained.

Officials say when this time of the year comes around, they have a heightened sense of awareness because they’re expecting more calls to come in.

"A lot of boaters not using proper navigation is definitely a big thing, and we have a lot of boat collisions. Just looking out for one another and knowing the right directions to take when you see another vessel," says Petty Officer U.S. Coast Guard Joseph Zarlinga.

A boat collision happened just this past week between Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach it's still under investigation, but we actually saw that boat on the water that another boat collided with in the dark. Officials hope these kinds of incidents are avoided.

"The big thing is paying attention to those additional hazards, things are still floating," says Petty Officer Zarlinga.

Hazards that are still in the water from Hurricane Ian, the crew explained that a boat hit a car in the water recently.

"There’s a couple cars that were already pulled out I’m sure there’s still more that are unknown, but until we can kind of find those out that’s how we have to approach it," adds Petty Officer Zarlinga.

The U.S. Coast Guard says you have to report these things you see so other boaters are aware.